WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE CAPITOL RIOT. The storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters was four weeks ago. In that time, it has become perhaps the most important factor in our politics, and particularly in the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. But there are a lot of basic facts that we do not know about the riot. It is not clear when we will learn them.
One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, was killed in the course of trying to repel the rioters. One of the rioters, Ashli Babbitt, was shot to death by a Capitol Police officer. Three other rioters died in the violence, one reportedly from a heart attack, one from a stroke, and one crushed by the crowd.
A week ago, I sent the Capitol Police a list of questions about the riot. It is not an exhaustive list; it just asks for some basic facts about the violence and its aftermath. Here is the list:
- How many Capitol Police officers were injured in the riot?
- What were their injuries? What is their condition now?
- Did Capitol Police confiscate any firearms from rioters? If so, how many and what types?
- What is the status of the investigation into the killing of Officer Sicknick?
- Is there an autopsy report for Officer Sicknick? If so, will it be released to the public, or will its key findings be released to the public?
- What is the status of the investigation into the shooting of Ashli Babbitt? Has it been ruled a justifiable shooting?
- Who was the officer who shot Ms. Babbitt?
- Did any other officers discharge firearms during the rioting? If so, under what circumstances?
- Did any rioters discharge any firearms during the rioting? If so, under what circumstances?
Capitol Police have not responded to the questions, including a follow-up email and phone calls. (There was an anonymous leak this week that the still-unidentified officer who shot Babbitt will not be charged.) As Chris Hayes, the MSNBC anchor, pointed out in a tweet on January 27, many of these facts are the kind of thing that are quickly released in the routine course of an investigation. And yet they have not been released by Capitol Police.